Good news on malpractice premiums

According to the latest industry survey, liability rates are "leveling off" and future increases are likely to be more moderate.

Even in states where premiums are much lower-in the $10,000 to $25,000 range-many doctors did face sharp price increases this year. Some carriers raised rates for internists by 30 percent or more in Colorado, Delaware, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Wyoming.

Nonetheless, there are still plenty of places where doctors pay relatively modest premiums. In Idaho, Minnesota, Nebraska, and South Dakota, for example, some carriers offer internists rates of less than $4,000. Even in states with astronomical big-city rates, internists who practice elsewhere pay considerably less. In Illinois, for instance, the lowest available rate-about $20,000-is less than a third of the top rate in Chicago. In Michigan, the most expensive rate in Detroit is five times higher than the lowest rate elsewhere in the state.

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